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Governor Whitmer and Legislature Announce Child Care Proposals

On June 14, Governor Whitmer launched a proposal to address Michigan’s child care needs by providing $1.4 billion in federal funds toward various grants and programs. The proposal would increase income eligibility for child care assistance from 150% to 200% of the federal poverty level; provide premium pay for child care workers; and issue direct grants to child care providers. The specifics of the proposal still need to be negotiated with the Michigan House and Senate, but there appears to be bi-partisan support for increasing access to child care.

On Tuesday, a bi-partisan package of legislation aimed at easing the path to opening and expanding child care centers was introduced in the Michigan House. House Bills 5041-5048 seek to create a wide range of reforms to child care rules and regulations as follows:

  • HB 5041, O’Malley (R-Lake Ann): Increase total number of allowed children in family child-care home by one child; and in group child care homes by two children.
  • HB 5042, VanWoerkam (R-Norton Shores): Requires additional disclosure of ownership or board membership for licensed child care providers.
  • HB 5043, Breen (D-Novi): Requires the Department of Education to create regional child care networks made up of licensees, employers, educators and other groups to promote data sharing, professional development and access to services.
  • HB 5044, Puri (D-Canton): Requires the Department of Education to create infant-toddler child care contracts that would encourage expansion of child care services in underserved regions of the state.
  • HB 5045, Wakeman (R-Saginaw Twp.): Requires the inclusion of the results of any special investigations into a licensee within the last three years in the child care database.
  • HB 5046, Markkanen (R-Hancock): Allows licensed child care providers at least 90 days to implement rule changes unless there is an immediate federal obligation or an immediate risk to health and safety.
  • HB 5047, Calley (R-Portland): Eliminates requirement for a licensing notebook to be kept on the premises of a licensee if the licensee has internet access and the ability to provide access through the department’s electronic database.
  • HB 5048, Roth (R-Traverse City): Removes certain prohibitions in the use of multi-occupancy buildings for child care centers provided the department inspects and verifies that the location will not pose a serious risk to child safety.

The legislation was referred to the House Families, Children and Seniors committee, but it will likely not receive a hearing until the fall. Similarly, the child care funding proposals will continue to be negotiated by the Legislature and Executive branch. State Alliance director Fran Talsma and CEO Daryl Sieplinga have been meeting with officials in the Governor’s office and the Department of Education to ensure that YMCA providers will have access to the funds.